Could Jellyfish Protein Power Nano Medical Devices?
Researchers at Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology, believe that protein from jellyfish may be a new source of energy - one that they believe could aid medical science power nanotechnology devices (tools that can manipulate matter on a molecular or atomic scale).
To create the energy, the Swedishscientists extracted luminous jellyfish protein, also know as Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) from Jellyfish Aequorea Victoria, a glow-in-the-dark species, commonly found of the Western Coast of North America, and placed it between a pair of aluminum electrodes. When the GFP was exposed to ultraviolet light the electrons flowed through a circuit, effectively creating a miniature solar cell that generated electricity, measuring tens of nano amperes.
While the output is not that much, Zackary Chiragwandi, who is heading up the research, thinks that it can easily be scaled up in the next couple of years and that these solar cells will be the perfect fuel for powering nanotechnology devices that can reside inside the human body, to fight things like tumors or reverse blindness.
If the protein-fueled solar cells work, it would be a huge breakthrough for doctors, because while nanotechnology is believed to be the future of healthcare, the progress has been slow, due to the lack of a reliable source of power. Mr. Chirgwandi believes that his solar cells can also be powered using protein from fireflies and sea pansies.
While the initial tests were done with protein extracted from Jellyfish, thanks to scientific breakthroughs, researchers can create GFP in laboratories with the help of bacteria, which means, we will not be hunting down all the jellyfish to extract this source of energy.
Sources: edition.cnn.com, newscientist.com,enviro-news.com